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Singapore will reach out to India’s proposal on travel bubble, says envoy

Singapore is looking at ways of rebuilding air travel in a way that is safe for travellers and residents, and the relevant agencies in Singapore will reach out to authorities for discussions regarding a proposal of the Indian government for a travel bubble with Singapore, High Commissioner of Singapore to India Simon Wong said.

“India is an important partner for Singapore and the strong air connectivity between our countries prior to the pandemic had been critical to driving the flow of trade and investment, and people-to-people exchanges,” Mr. Wong told The Hindu in an interview.

The High Commissioner thanked the Indian government for its support in helping repatriate around 400 Singapore citizens on two flights during the pandemic. He said around 50-60 Singaporeans are still in India as they feel safe here and want to continue their work in India.

Mr. Wong said that despite the restrictions during COVID-19, Singapore investments are still coming in to India, although it has slowed down a little bit. “For example, in the last one year, between August of last year (2019) to August of this year (2020), we have about close to US$2 billion worth of investments,” he said.

The High Commissioner, who was in Chennai for a series of meetings, also met Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami on Wednesday. He said that the government in Tamil Nadu was very serious about working with foreign investors, and Singapore was happy to be a part of this, economically. “I think the Chief Minister is looking at a forward-looking plan to transform the economy of [the regions] surrounding Chennai and, of course, Tamil Nadu. Singapore wants to be part of this process,” he said.

Mr. Wong said that in the past one year, between August 2019 and 2020, Singapore companies had invested close to $500 million in Tamil Nadu. He added that between 2018 and now, Singapore companies had invested about $1 billion in Tamil Nadu.

“I think because of historical links, many of our forefathers come from Tamil Nadu and speak Tamil. So, Chennai, Tamil Nadu in general, is a go-to destination for our investments. That is also the main reason why, despite COVID, we are making a trip from Delhi to Chennai. This is my first stop. And I feel that we need to, despite the health risks, we want to signal to the Tamil Nadu government that we take our partners very, very seriously. And we will also want to signal to our Singaporean investments that this is the preferred State to put their money in,” the envoy said.

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2020 12:24:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/singapore-will-reach-out-to-indias-proposal-on-travel-bubble-says-envoy/article32911980.ece

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